The Bengal Tiger is an at risk animal, with only around 1400 remaining in the world today. So one cannot help but ask, how on earth 18 of these intrinsically valuable animals ended up in an animal park in Zanesville, Ohio and in turn, why they (along with 38 other exotic animals including lions, grizzly bears and monkeys), met a bloody end at the hands of local law enforcement after being released into the wild by owner Terry Thompson?
Not that I blame the law enforcement; the 'to kill' order was made quickly admittedly and I'd like to know if sedation was viable alternative (though apparently too dangerous to do at night), but in the meantime I'll concede that it was emergency situation and once the animals were out, they proved a danger to local residents and the local wildlife population. Despite this, I doubt anyone will look upon the pictures of these dead animals (only six were captured alive) without thinking what an absolute waste.
Animals in captivity are of course a touchy subject. For the most part I am opposed to captivity, but view well maintained Zoos as a necessary evil, carrying out research, education and conservation work that is now imperative thanks to centuries of ignorance in this area. I would also hope that Zoos gave an outlet where the human fascination with wild animals could be satisfied, rather than in more underground means such as trafficking and entertainments such as circuses and stage shows. Sadly, as this story proves, this is not the case, and as long as there are people willing to by and sell animals, and legislation allows them to do so, it will be exploited by people who have no business keeping animals of such size and nature. Ohio has some of the most relaxed laws regarding exotic pet ownership in the US, and the of the highest level of deaths and injuries by them, so it is perhaps time that certain people started to wise up to the fact that these animals are simply not meant to be kept as pets or amusements. Pity that it takes an event such as this to drive that message home.